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The Monday Roundup: Cars as weapons, shredding bikes, seeing Black riders, and more

Posted by on June 1st, 2020 at 11:12 am

Here are the most noteworthy items the BikePortland community came across in the past seven days.

Vehicular violence: We’ve seen several examples of people using vehicles as weapons at protests around the country: A tanker truck driver was arrested after barreling through a crowd of protestors in Minneapolis; NYPD officers used their SUVs as battering rams; and a driver rammed into a skateboarder in northeast Portland on Friday.

CDC’s bad advice: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said employers should encourage people to drive alone in cars to work, a move that will further erode transit use and have dramatic negative impact on public health. The recommendation caused a swift and stern reaction from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

Vancouver BC open streets: A driving ban in Stanley Park went so well that Vancouverites are set to remove parked cars and drivers from major arterials in favor of dining tables and other business services.

Parklets in the ‘Couv: Even our local Vancouver is getting into it with a new program that will allow businesses to seat customers in spaces formerly used to store private vehicles.

London’s future: “We have no choice. This is not ideological opportunism. This is a necessity,” says London’s walking and cycling commissioner about their response to Covid-19 streets.

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The U.K. isn’t messing around: “Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded,” stated an official memo sent to local governments from the U.K.’s Department for Transportation.

Shredding bikes (not in a good way): Tens of thousands of perfectly good Jump e-bikes (used in bike share systems) were destroyed and scrapped last week, in a “shameful” display of waste that raises deep questions about micromobility vehicles and the companies who own them.

See Black riders: Many transportation and bike advocacy-related systems perpetuate systemic racism. One of them is how cities count bicycle users in ways that don’t fully see the full scope of who’s on bikes.

No cars in the Quarter: It’s inspiring to see people like New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell seriously consider banning driving in large areas like the famous French Quarter. “This is the city’s time to reimagine just how we live, how we move about, how we enjoy, and how we get to know and learn the fabric of our city,” she says.

Toll road bailout: Funny how toll roads are pitched as private solutions but then owners stick hands out for public tax dollars when going gets tough.

E-buses: The transit system that serves the Salem-Keizer region won a $3.5 million grant and will use the funds to purchase five electric buses.

Video of the Week: Microcars being used in The Netherlands are causing a bit of consternation in the world’s most famous bike lanes.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Alan 1.0Alex ReedinHello, KittyGlowBoyConcordia Cyclist Recent comment authors
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Todd
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Todd

An all too depressing weekend…reminds me too much of my childhood in the NE in the 60s/70s…watching fiery space rockets and smoking city centers…sadly not the voices of joy heard in Portland’s neighborhoods when President Obama was first elected…;-(

RudiV
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RudiV

“Footage of NYPD Vehicles Surging Into Crowd of Protesters Sparks Further Outrage”.

The better question is, what *wouldn’t* spark “further outrage” among rioter…err “protesters”?

Also there’s a story out of Richmond, VA from this weekend where rioters blocked firefighters from reaching a house they set on fire with a child inside. You don’t know what these NYPD vehicles were responding to. It might have been a similar life or death situation.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

Is there a link? I’ve heard many versions of this, where can I find out more?

RudiV
Guest
rick
Guest
rick

People should obtain permits for these “protests.”

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

Protests may be a thing of the past. There are moves afoot in government circles about suspending the Constitution and transitioning to a militarized police state.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

“Moves afoot” is pretty vague. One thing I’ve learned this week is how much misinformation gets spread and amplified online. Got a credible source?

Concordia Cyclist
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Concordia Cyclist

I believe the public source would be one Donald J. Trump, since he flat out claimed his “right” to do so.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I asked for a credible source.

damiene
Subscriber
damiene

To paraphrase Jimmy Dore: “If you’re protesting with a permit, it’s not a protest, it’s a parade.”

mm
Guest
mm
Bicycling Al
Guest
Bicycling Al

The time for giving police the benefit of the doubt is over. It’s not possible that they are performing for a greater good when driving through crowds, knocking elderly to the ground, shooting and arresting the press, tasering kids in their car past curfew and just shooting live ammunition into crowds now. Every incident should be prosecuted. The fact that there have been dismissals for many of these acts tells me that there was no greater good to begin with when behaving this way. Dismissals aren’t enough though. Prosecutions and jail terms are needed for these individuals. Whole departments need restructuring. My entire adult life, I’ve been asked for more money for more police “equipment and training” as crime rates continue to plummet. THIS is what they do with their equipment and training? Do you think more equipment and training is going to solve this issue? They’ve had DECADES! Fun fact, the budget of the NYPD alone is FIVE times the budget for the CDC!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Apparently, the standard for use of deadly force for some people is quite low.

RudiV
Guest
RudiV

How long do you think the rioters we’ve seen over the last few days would last *without* a police presence? The police are the only ones standing between a disgusted and well armed populace and you.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

There’s simply no evidence this is true.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

commenting since my downvote didn’t register. Don’t assume the populace is all on your side Rudiv.

RudiV
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RudiV

I don’t. Just the well armed ones.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Haha. You seriously think there aren’t well-armed people in poor neighborhoods of Minneapolis (or other cities)? I know who the “disgusted and well-armed populace” is that you refer to. If you or they think they could roll in here and impose their will, they would be in for a serious motherfucking surprise.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Internet tough guy is tough on the internet.

Champs
Guest
Champs

“Don’t interrupt your opponent’s mistake” was an argument I made about the Trump administration’s plans to privatize highway development, i.e. building toll roads, a few years ago.

It would be nice to take a victory lap if I didn’t already know that the bailout will be “necessary” to save the pension funds. This is at the expense of young adults in America, who stay at the back of the line until they decide to get off their butts and vote.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Every generation for at least a century has voted at low rates when young. There are psychological reasons, but also structural ones – moving and having to re register more often, children, irregular work hours, longer work hours, cars being expensive (in non vote by mail states, or if one drops off one’s ballot), just having a long DIY to do list in order to save money (young adult incomes are lower and childcare is expensive) and registering and voting are two more things to do, etc.

I am a young adult and I appreciate the solidarity on policy, but the “get off (our) butts” phrase feels patronizing too. (Note, I have always voted, probably in large part due to my privilege mitigating the above structural factors. And, I canvass and register others too, despite how hard having little kids makes that.)

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Your first paragraph sounds like a list of excuses. Sure, voting is a hassle, but in exchange, we get the power to reshape society. That must be worth a little inconvenience. And compared to the rest of life, it’s really not that much.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

What I’m saying is, implicitly saying that young people vote less because we’re apathetic or lazy is not helpful. There are real freaking reasons (which you are welcome to call excuses but I disagree) why young people vote less.

I dream of a cross-generational Left movement, in which people with time/money to spare (who are disproportionately older) register people to vote, encourage them to get absentee ballots, and encourage them to turn out to vote. Currently, the Republicans have the best in class absentee voter turnout infrastructure (in Florida, which they can fairly easily duplicate nationwide), and I see no sign that the Democrats are going to raise the money and do the work to match that.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Convenient how these same “excuses” have been in effect for a century, and how the “power to reshape society” has failed to motivate young people to vote in high numbers for a century. It’s almost as if there are real barriers to young people voting, not just “excuses.” It’s almost as if the people with the most power to actually change things are those with resources (time or money) and THEY are the people we should be begging to change their ways in order to save this nation.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

Most teens are not busy parenting, don’t need an expensive car to vote (in Oregon, at least), and probably aren’t overly consumed by DIY projects. Many still live at home. And while I agree that vote by mail/absentee ballots may be part of the solution, the Oregonian reported that only 1 in 3 Oregon teens eligible to vote in 2018 did so, even with universal vote-by-mail.

I don’t see the structural barriers that prevented the other 2/3 from participating. It’s far easier than getting a driver’s license. Heck, it’s easier than passing a math test, something we ask every Oregon teen to do. Young people are not helpless.

You present two options: 1) Get more young people to vote; or 2) Beg older people to vote differently. Do you really think the second is the easier path?

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

No, I think the most realistic theory of change is to beg liberal people with time and/or money (who are disproportionately older) to donate those resources extensively this election cycle, say 10x more than in previous cycles. Those resources can directly or indirectly reach people who didn’t vote in previous cycles. The money can amplify the message that voting is insanely important far beyond anything any of us can do on our own on the Internets. At this point in the cycle, the message is, “Trump puts this country in danger. Donate donate donate! Volunteer volunteer volunteer!” In October, yes, it’s reminders to register to vote/vote absentee, fill out your ballot, send it in, etc. But right now we need a different message targeted to a different audience.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Teens have a whole different set of barriers to voting, by the way. Starting with registration – non-teens are likely to have the benefit of a prior registration still being valid if they haven’t moved; teens are unlikely to. Non-teens are likely to own their own cars or if not, to have moved to a location from which it is easier to get around without a car; teens are unlikely to (did you know that a majority of Oregon ballots are dropped off in person?) A good number of teens are resident college students, which presents barriers (a lot of states & college towns intentionally make it hard for resident college students to vote, plus there’s just the friction of figuring out where one is even supposed to vote – at home or at college). I would add that teens at home may not have had to develop the habit of getting and dealing with one’s mail.

So… again, not just laziness and apathy. Not by a long shot.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In Oregon, and many other states, people are automatically registered to vote when they get their driver’s license (even if they aren’t yet 18), and there are plenty of opportunities to do so in school (or on campus), so inability to get registered is not likely a widespread issue. (I would gladly consider evidence to the contrary — I want registration to be effortless and as automatic as possible.)

The barriers you describe seem really quite low, especially for someone who has managed to get into college. I feel like you are saying that if voting takes any effort at all, it’s too much to expect a young person to do. I’m saying if you want to change the world, voting is about the most effortless tool you’ve got, and if that’s too much work, you probably don’t really want change all that badly.

But I do want to be clear that I am totally in favor of almost anything that lowers barriers to participation.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Only 61% of 18 year olds have drivers licenses. Only 41% of 18-to-24-year olds are enrolled in college at any given time (some in remote learning, which offers next to no voter registration benefit).

https://www.statista.com/chart/18682/percentage-of-the-us-population-holding-a-drivers-license-by-age-group

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_302.60.asp

What I’m saying is, shaming young people for not voting (with the implication that it’s because they’re lazy and apathetic) is both counterproductive and, in many/most cases, the implication is inaccurate.

Asking people with free time or available money to donate it to, for example, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
https://www.dscc.org/ (Money) or Swing Left https://swingleft.org/p/virtual-organizing (Time) is both effective and accurate based on what we know about elections.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I agree that shaming people is rarely motivational, and I only mentioned college students because you did. I also agree that donating is another easy way to help for those who have the extra funds.

But fundamentally, if a young person wants a voice in our system, they can have it. For most, not exercising their rights is a choice (whether conscious or not), not something imposed on them from the outside. I may regret that choice, but I do not intend to shame.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

I’m more or less in agreement with that. On the individual level, it’s a choice. At the group level, what percentage makes that choice is greatly influenced by convenience, habit, transportation, voter ID requirements, free time, etc. Champs’ “get off their butts” phrase is what stuck in my craw and struck me as echoing a wider narrative shaming young non-voters.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

I started this reply this morning, left off, and came back to a really nice discussion thread…thanks, Alex and HK! I’ve read it and still have some comments to add.

I dream of a cross-generational Left movement, in which people with time/money to spare (who are disproportionately older) register people to vote, encourage them to get absentee ballots, and encourage them to turn out to vote. –Alex

The League of Women Voters, while non-partisan, does exactly what you suggest (and more). Its membership was strongly skewed older but it has been expanding for the past three years and is gaining younger participants. DEI is among its national goals.

Growing up in a family where the parent(s) vote – and talk about it! – has a big correlation with whether young people vote. My wife coached our god daughter through her first ballot when she turned 18, since both her parents are apathetic (mom votes sometimes). Coaching meant everything from registering to reading the ballot to researching issues and positions, but not making decisions for her. We were thrilled when she told us this last time that she’d sent in her ballot, all on her own. I believe mentoring of that kind could help many younger adults vote. (I don’t have a source handy for that correlation, but it has been studied and confirmed.)

Another thing that I stress to reluctant voters is that local and state elections are every bit, if not more, as worthy of voting in as national. Off-year elections or special elections see lower turn-out (so your vote counts more), but are at least as important as 2- and 4-year cycles. Local issues affect us more directly, and our individual votes carry way more influence due to the smaller voter base (denominator). They are also breeding and weeding grounds for upwards-bound politicians.

Finally, Washington (where I live) did not have Civics as a school requirement since 1979 (and even then it was just one small part of 8th grade US History). In 2018 the legislature voted to require and fund it for high school graduation in 2024 and on, so the requirement starts with 2021 tenth graders. WA high schools, often in conjunction with LWV, will register students to vote as part of that classwork. Registration can be done at age 16 (they don’t get to vote until 18, of course), and between motor-voter registrations and Civics, there’s that much less barrier to participation, and hopefully a little more understanding of why voting is a responsibility of every citizen.

(hmm…yes, motor-voter does need a bike-voter component…)

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

Well, the kids did vote in historically record numbers in 2018. Let’s see if it was a blip or a trend.

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

https://gothamist.com/news/de-blasio-finally-condemns-police-driving-vehicles-into-new-yorkers-protesters

It took AOC, Corey Johnson, and many others for BDB to change his answer regarding the NYPD’s use of cars against people. Even if he could run for mayor, I doubt he would have a chance now.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Thanks for your continued attention to vehicular violence, Jonathan. Using vehicles as weapons against not only protesters, but also against police, has happened a number of times the past week around the country. We need some greater awareness and restraint about using cars in that way. Many people I know who are gun enthusiasts, for example, take safety extremely seriously and follow multiple protocols and safeguards (both physical and psychological) every time they handle a firearm, in order to avoid tragedy. We need to take a more serious attitude about how we wield the deadly weapons known as automobiles.

By the way, the horrifying incident with the tanker truck here in Minneapolis last night was on the exact same I-35W crossing that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people. As bad as that was (and I’ve met survivors of that nightmare), several factors combined to create a minor miracle in that hundreds weren’t killed back then.

It’s perhaps an even bigger miracle that hundreds weren’t killed last night, given a semi tanker, fully loaded with thousands of gallons of gasoline, approaching a crowd of thousands at a speed (according to state patrol) of 70 miles per hour. Hopefully recent reports prove true that the entire incident was inadvertent, but what a frightfully close call.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The existence of privately-funded toll roads baffles me. Why would it ever make sense to go into business when the government provides a subsidized alternative of the same thing? They really seem to underestimate how much time people are willing to waste sitting in traffic to save a few bucks.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

Its a little ironic that cars are being used against the protestors, because if such events in other places in the world are any indicator, then as these protests grow and progress the protestors will get their revenge as more and more cars are set fire. This is one of the problems with bringing expensive flammable objects to public demonstrations, or using the public right of way to store expensive flammable objects.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

“Protestors getting their revenge” usually involves destroying the property of someone other than the target of that revenge. Sure, the person lightning the match may feel righteous, but attacking the innocent is rarely defensible.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It is amazing how these protesters can justify destroying other folk’s property, which is usually unrelated to the cause at hand. They should start in their own neighborhoods.

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

According to local police accounts, they believe it is was only around a 100 out of over 6,000 protesters Sunday night. So maybe we shouldn’t be so broad in our description of “protesters.”

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It’s good you can admit these crowds engage in property destruction.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

See black riders: Yet another dumb academic article that states the obvious but offers no solutions. Anyone who does bicycle advocacy anywhere in the USA knows that the only people who can show up to a mid-afternoon with meeting with city officials are either paid to be there or are unemployed and/or retired – white people for the most part, usually male, even among the public agency representatives. How do we get more non-white people from the public or nonprofits to attend and participate? The article doesn’t explain how, nor even why they should bother attending, as the public agencies often ignore our input (from the white male bicycling community) and clearly from their actions, from any other community as well.

Opus the Poet
Guest

You know using motor vehicles as weapons is a crime against humanity.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Toll road bailout: $9,200,000,000 for 3 months of maintaining 5,000 miles of freeway is about $613,333 per mile per month.

Is it just me or does that seem expensive?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

There is a lot of institutional public overhead to be paid.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Gotta pay them shareholders too.